IEEE’S CHARTING THE FUTURE OF UNIVERSITY ENGINEERING IN KENYA WORKSHOP


Credits : IEEE

Credits : IEEE

The  IEEE workshop that happened on Saturday, 25th October, was graced by Engineers  both professionals and faculty members, social scientists,business  and industry leaders ,Policy Makers  as well as Engineering students from different Universities in Kenya. A big shout out and thank you to the organizers, IEEE kenya Section and IEEE Education Activities!

The major  perspective of the whole event was to seek solutions, and  ways in which to improve  the Engineering Education in Kenya, by incorporating the continuous evolution of trends in Engineering and Technology , in both inside  and outside the classroom, focusing on Industry and employer Expectations, social and societal challenges et al. Nevertheless, the case would apply to any other African country.

Further, Most speakers however insisted of the aspect of incorporating what is needed in the economy rather that being mainstream on trends  just because it is what everyone is practicing.

Prof. Michael Lightner -(Associate Vice President  For Academic Affairs, University of Colorado ) specifically, emphasized that as much as we may want to incorporate cutting edge  technology in most industries, or whatever processes of Engineering that require it, the community of people that are going to use this technology also matters. “The technology should incorporate  the different cultures or activities of this individuals rather than trying to compete with them”. He also was able to showcase the top  Universities in the world that  offer Engineering and what their different approaches on teaching and learning Engineering is like. The Universities were quite diverse but what stood in Most of them was  the aspect of innovation and building sustainable solution to existing societal problems.

From the presentation by Prof. Lightner, (Global Trends in Engineering, Computing and Technology Education ) and even during networking  sessions, most attendees were  agreeing to the twitching or having an overhaul on the system of teaching Engineering and Technology in Kenya.

Prof. David Some from the  Commission of  University Education in Kenya  on the other hand  insisted on sustainable development   for the education system in Kenya, of which his commission was trying to achieve, particularly in Engineering. “Engineering drives the economy and hence it is a budding discipline that should be well handled and taught in order to achieve its functionality”

Prof . Saurabh Sinha- (Vice President,IEEE Educational activities;Executive Dean  Faculty Of Engineering and Built Environment, University Of Johannesburg )  whose topic of discussion was ‘sustainable  Engineering Education’ Started off with some statistics  on both Engineering Enrollment at Universities in the world and those who really venture into Engineering even after Graduation. The statistics  were quite shocking especially in Kenya where the ratio of one  Engineer is to a population of 6ooo people as compared to Europe which is mostly  1:300. This explains a lot on  the feedback  regarding Engineering and Technology in Kenya. Most of his sentiments were building on what the previous speakers were insistent about. He finished off by letting out a challenge to everyone to be the change they  want to see in the world,basing  this on the driving force activities that IEEE administers at community level in different parts of the world.

On Engineering Programme Accreditation ( The international Engineering alliance  Approach based on Graduate Attributes)- Prof. Hu, Hanrahan-( chair, Washington Accord, Emeritus Professor and Visiting Professor, School Of Electrical Engineering and Information Engineering, University Of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg ), talked about the   Washington Accord, which  is an international agreement among bodies responsible for accrediting engineering degree programs and which  recognizes the substantial equivalency of programs accredited by those bodies and recommends that graduates of programs accredited by any of the signatory bodies be recognized by the other bodies as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering.

Professor Koi Tirima-(Vice Chancellor, International  University  Of Professional Studies) , Presented on the pedagogical Practices  and the importance of embracing  innovations in pedagogy that enhance and promote critical thinking and problem solving in STEM and especially  In Engineering Education.

All the  sessions by every speaker were followed by many  challenging questions  from the attendees of which the speakers answered satisfactorily and could even not take other questions due to limited time. This is evident that the sessions or the entire event impacted not only positively to those who attended but also posed a challenge to them. Everything had to change including the mindset of everyone in the Engineering field and those in other fields that were in attendance.

The day’s event was summarized by  a panelists of Diverse educational backgrounds  on blended learning and also general questions from the attendees, with the major perspective or focus being, ‘Towards quality education’. The panelists included; Prof. Robert Gateru, Prof. Michael Lightner ,Prof. Meoli Karshoda and Prof Saurabh Sinha

This was followed by a breakout session where different individuals(attendees), were  grouped and given the liberty to chart Up the future of Engineering in Kenya and the way forward. These points were pointed out and put in record for future reference.

Finally the event came to a close with  a keynote Speaker  From Dr. Peggy Oti-Boateng ,-(Senior Programme Specialist for S&T, UNESCO Office, Nairobi.) She focused on the topic -‘Making Engineering  Work For Africa and the role of the young African Engineer. She insisted that the female Engineers should be helped as much as possible by their male counter parts to avoid imbalance in gender in the field and also wastage of the Engineering knowledge acquired due to pressure from family matters et al. She also noted that very few young people in the Engineering field in Africa do take risks. Most of them like their comfort zone, an aspect which is not helping most economies in Africa. She Also emphasized on the art of Creating as Engineers rather than being consumers.

“Innovation by the young people in the Engineering  and Technology Field  in Africa needs to be a necessity rather than an Option ”

The event was simply incredible!!!

Thank you IEEE 🙂

 

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